With Development and Promotion of Mutual Cultural Exchanges and Learning over A Decade, Confucius Institutes Enter into A New Phase of Comprehensive Upgrading

[Source]    People’s Daily Overseas Edition [Time]    2018-07-24 17:13:49 

A student from the Confucius Institute at the University of Zambia showing his Chinese painting during the cultural exchanges at Shijiazhuang No.42 Middle School of Hebei Province

“The development of the Confucius Institutes has entered into a new phase of comprehensive upgrading. Confucius Institutes should further present themselves to the public, show their unique values and positive contributions to people from all walks of life in both China and foreign countries, and encourage teachers, students, community members and other beneficiaries to share their stories and experiences. All parties in China and other countries should work together to enhance the capacity of Confucius Institutes, cultivate high-quality teachers, develop high-level teaching materials, closely combine with local demands, integrate into the international development strategies of universities, thus making positive contributions to talents-training in universities and to local economic and social development. From July 16th to 17th, the Roundtable of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters was held in Beijing, participated by 26 presidents and directors of Chinese and foreign universities from 8 countries such as the US, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Brazil and Thailand, during which all Chinese and foreign representatives all agreed on the above remarks.

Prosperous Development of Confucius Institutes

Data shows that in 2017, 14 Confucius Institutes and 40 Confucius Classrooms were newly established. So far, China has established 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Confucius Classrooms in 146 countries (regions). The Confucius Institute Headquarters has set up 1,100 testing centers for HSK Test in 130 countries and regions in the world, adding 34 in 2017. The number of candidates for various kinds of Chinese language tests reached 6.5 million last year, with a year-on-year increase of 8.33%.

It is known that the Confucius Institute is an education institution co-organized by a Chinese university and a foreign university under the proposals at the initiative of the foreign university. As an integral part of university, the Confucius Institute abides by the academic norms of the concerned universities, with its administrative management incorporated into the university system. Its fundamental management is widely recognized.

The representatives of the Roundtable of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters said that Confucius Institutes are enjoying booming development and widely recognized by educators and students from all over the world, of which the essential reasons is that their adherence to the school-running mode “extensive consultation, joint contribution and win-win cooperation” for Chinese-foreign cooperative universities, their focus on promoting the educational attributes of Chinese language and culture and their philosophy and vision of enhancing mutual understanding and comprehension among people around the world.

Promotion of Friendship between China and People of All Countries

Since the establishment of the first overseas Confucius Institute in 2004, Confucius Institutes have been developing for over a decade and have made positive contributions to promoting the friendship between China and people of all countries and the exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign civilizations.

Qi Mudi, Foreign Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, likened his job to building a bridge of communication. “Over time, the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos has played an important role in promoting Chinese language and communications between China and Nigeria in fields such as cultural exchanges and scientific and technological cooperation. It builds a bridge for strengthening people-to-people bonds between China and Nigeria.”

Teng jing, Foreign Director of the Confucius Institute in New Brunswick, Canada, also expressed that Confucius Institute is a bridge to approach closer to China.

In addition to Chinese language teaching, Confucius Institutes actively organize various cultural activities. Starting with language and blending with culture, they have become an important window for the world to know about China. Doctor Xu Haiming, Director of the Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli, took his Confucius Institute as an example, “In our Confucius Institute, in addition to Chinese language teaching, there are various after-class activities supplementing Chinese learning, including Kun Opera, Peking Opera, calligraphy, Chinese painting, and shadow puppetry. These activities not only stimulate students’ interest in learning, but also expand their cultural horizons.”

(Story by Zhao Xiaoxia, Photo by Zhang Shuo, People's Daily Overseas Edition, Page 2, July 20th, 2018)

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